“As Jane looked around her, she felt that dissatisfied feeling she often experienced when she was somewhere new and lovely. She couldn’t quite articulate it, except with the words: if only I was here. This little beachside cafe was so exquisite she longed to really be there, except of course, she was there, so it didn’t make sense.”
~ Liane Moriarty, “Big Little Lies”
Whenever an author, filmmaker or other artist sets out on the noble endeavor of pointing people toward the ideal of living life to its fullest, they usually wind up depicting a character going off on all sorts of wild adventures, skydiving, trekking across the Himalayas, and so on.
In my opinion reminding people to live life to its fullest is the artist’s single most important job, but this is also where most storytellers get it wrong. Most people who live wild, interesting lives sleepwalk through the whole ride just like everyone else; in the end they’re left with a few amusing anecdotes rattling around in their skulls and a secret sense of dissatisfaction.
This is because most people don’t really show up for life. Even if they’re outwardly doing all sorts of amazing things and racking up a bunch of impressive accomplishments, their attention was mostly consumed with babbling mental chatter almost the entire time. Whatever happens in their life, they weren’t really there for it.
The real way to live life to its fullest is to simply be present for it. A housekeeper who actually pays attention to life as it happens will have lived a lot more actual life than any billionaire playboy who’s constantly out chasing extraordinary experiences while internally preoccupied with other matters.
I point this out because, at the midway point of the year 2020, I think it’s extremely relevant.
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